For many dedicated runners, extreme cold temperatures do not stop them from taking daily outdoor runs. Some people run over ninety kilometers every week, no matter the cold or winter conditions. However, when running in extreme cold and icy or snowy conditions, taking more precautions before setting out on a run is important. Taking even more special precautions while out running during colder weather and winter conditions is important as well.
Balance is an essential aspect during a run, even more so when there is the chance of slipping on ice. The muscles in your feet and legs provide the strength you require for movement while the hip muscles provide balance. Runners should know that their hip muscles, the gluteus medius muscles, are absolutely essential for maintaining balance.
While most runners do warm up before setting out on a run, you should know that warming up is more important than ever during the winter. Maintaining muscle tone and strength is important to help you keep the balance necessary to run. However, taking it slower by taking shorter strides can help you avoid serious injury. For many people, running slower comes with instinct when ice and snow is on the path.
Many pro runners take to indoor tracks during the winter to avoid being cold and to avoid serious injury from falls on ice and snow. The drawback many runners find about running on indoor tracks is the feeling it gives you. Running indoors does not provide the sensation fresh air does as you run and draw it into your lungs. When the weather is cold, this sensation can be invigorating and intensely refreshing.
Cross training can take the place of running in cold weather, especially for runners that run for reasons of endurance training and muscle toning. Choosing shoes that have deeper tread that provides better traction is also important to remember when running in icy and snowy conditions. Putting ice grips on your shoes can also help you to avoid falling. However, for many runners, ice grips can cause muscle injury from the compromise their feet encounter with shoe grips.
Shorter, slower stride is the key to maintaining better balance in slippery conditions. The biomechanics of keeping your feet further apart while going slower is an important part of running safely and in a more stable manner on icy or snowy terrain. Taking it slow allows you to have more warning in the event you come to an icy patch and it helps you avoid slipping when your feet hit heel first.
The choice to run in icy and colder weather is entirely a personal choice. Making the choice, however, to do so means you taking into consideration the precautions for doing so safely. Weighing the pros and cons is always important. In the event you fall and endure serious injury while running in slippery conditions, you could end up being indoors longer for healing an injury than you would have while waiting on warmer days to run.